Apple and Microsoft

And a bit of Google

I think Apple are doing really well in the PC business, and they are doing very well in the phone business too.

Microsoft are doing ok in the PC software business, and are nowhere in the phone biz.

I think Apple can and are, out manoeuvring Microsoft on the Pc side of things. I think Microsoft’s massive install base prevents them from evolving too rapidly. Apple don’t have such legacy baggage holding them back, although the move to Intel did cause some anguish, I think they got away with it.

What I find interesting is that Apple is the Microsoft of the smart phone world, they are the incumbent. I know there is blackberry, but they are still trying to shake of their dull work only image. Apple is the target, and apple has the legacy baggage. Reports now suggest Android is over taking iPhone sales, which I think will be a tipping point. ‘There’s an app for that’ will soon make people think of Android rather than iPhone. (or maybe not now Apple have trademarked it!)

I have an android phone and frankly my Blackberry was miles better in so many ways. The point is though Android is evolving so fast, and there is a viable distribution channel to find apps that cover the os weaknesses. A key one being the worse than crap standard email (a real W-T-F! IMO). Thank goodness for K9 email.

Google seem to be doing the best by far at leveraging open source which effectively give them unlimited developer resources. They still are little more than an ad broker though, as few of their non-ad stuff has made it out of beta.

I find these cycles quite interesting, it happens with so many things where the new kid overtakes the old establishment, then x years later they are the establishment and a new kid overtakes them. Android is doing iphone, apple is doing MS on pcs, and Bing is doing Google in search (ok I made that one up, but who knows? one day someone will superseed them surely?

Do you see the same pattern?



On a separate but related incident I see Ray Ozzie is leaving MS. I’d love to know the real story behind that.

10 Responses to “Apple and Microsoft”

  1. Gordon Says:

    I too watch Apple’s rising PC market share with interest, but as they don’t have a true low-end proposition (can you see a £300 iMac in Currys? No, I don’t think so) I don’t think they’ll usurp MS any time soon with an OSX machine.

    The iPod achieved dominance partly thanks to the availability of cheaper models which allowed aspirational (read: tight) consumers a slice of the action, while providing an element of lock-in via iTunes.

    An desktop/living room iOS-based solution might be the ticket though, look how the iPad is gobbling up the netbook market, and if they can extend the OS functionality over time and convince people they don’t need a clunky old whirring box in the corner then they may just be able to punt an iOS nettop as the Next Big Thing®.

    Android and iPhone are similar, they compete at the high-end but Apple just aren’t interested in the race to the bottom, happy to leave the low-margin shit for the Samsungs & Nokias of this world. I’d imagine they’re pretty happy with their market share and don’t expect it to grow significantly unless they decide to offer a lower priced iPhone Nano etc.

  2. Biggus Dickus Says:

    With regards to Ozzie – that’s the first I’ve heard that but it makes sense.

    MS has moved on from their SharePoint focus to a brand new “Cloud” obsession. Their entire organization is now focused on getting people to subscribe to their hosted offerings, primarily for Exchange today but also SharePoint and SQL Azure. Their focus is no longer on Collaboration but on killing Google (and probably Oracle at the same time).

    So with Ozzie’s lifetime obsession on Collaboration this shift leaves him on the outside looking in. What’s interesting to me is that apparently the “Chief Technologist” (or whatever his title was) is no longer driving the company’s “Vision”. The question is now “Who is then ?”. Strikes me that it’s now the Business folks … which concerns me in a technology company. But who am I ??


  3. mikewoodhouse Says:

    It seems clear at present that Blackberry is the better mobile email solution across all platforms. I don’t care too much about super-timely personal email and not at all about work email when not at work, so I don’t have one. My daughter wants one because she likes the keyboard for texting.

    Blackberry as a phone doesn’t impress me much, and I won’t have anything that requires me to install iTunes, so I went for an oldish cheapish Android. It’s good enough, although I’m starting to hanker for something that runs Froyo.

    I’m mostly an interested observer of the market – what will Apple do if/when the Android installed base becomes so large that developers start to target their platform second. Or not at all. And will WinPhone7 (or whatever it’s called) finally get some traction? Or the Palm thingy that HP now own?


  4. ross Says:


    I have not seen this apple move in the PC world – what have I missed, I was thinking that apples days in the PC world where numbered, and they would focus on TVs, and other “consumer” goods, phones, media players, radios, life style things…

    Apple is, in my view, a Marketing company. Ok, they happen to make their own products, but that’s not their core skill – there OK at it, but not great. There OS is Linux, there products have all been invented before, Apple “just” made them miles better than anyone else and marketed them really really really well, maybe a marking and design company then.

    MS have the business world, Apple the consumer (mid to high end), and goggle own the web. cant they all just live in harmony side by side – unlikely!!! They will try and kill each other, and die trying I guess, and that’s when I’ll make my move with the reverse microwave, instant frozen beer anyone!

  5. Harlan Grove Says:

    Apple sells hardware. The far more interesting question would be how well OSX would sell if Apple came out with a version which worked with common PC graphics hardware. Or, IOW, whether OSX weren’t tied so closely to Mac hardware to make it too difficult to run on PCs. [but then I remember Linux runs on both, and Macs support X]

    With respect to phones and tablets, several articles on MSFT saying Windows 7, NOT Windows PHONE 7, is the ideal OS for tablets. One of their stated reasons being the much better printer support in W7 vs WP7. I gotta ask: have any of you who own tablets been tempted to print anything from them?

    Forgive me for oversimplifying, but MSFT seems unable to imagine anything other than US$100 per W7 OEM license and, what?, US$50 from WP7 licenses. It’s a near certainty they won’t find any other way to make money off of phones. Apparently they don’t see any way to make money off of tablets either, so better W7 unit revenue than WP7.

  6. Dick Kusleika Says:

    RE Printing from tablet: Maybe a boarding pass or two, but that’s it.

    I thought iPhone was only about 20% market share. They still may be the team to beat, but I wouldn’t compare their position in the smartphone market to Windows installed base in the PC market. I thinks it’s a whole different dynamic.

    Apple sells closed systems. If they’re smart, they’ll continue to do so. The downfall of Android will be that it there will so many variants, the average person won’t be able to do everything he wants. Just like the average person doesn’t run Ubuntu.

  7. Bob Phillips Says:

    Because Android is open, you can get initiatives like

  8. Charlie Hall Says:

    I bought the first really good touch+keyboard smart phone (Treo) years ago and been waiting for something to replace it – hoping that Palm would do it again – unlikely even inside HP. Finally replaced the phone last Friday with the latest BB Torch. They have really done a good job – I am quite impressed (and that takes a lot as evidenced by waiting 5 yrs to replace my last phone). Hopefully they will be able to capitalize on the Torch in their competition with Apple. It is a great phone and a great email device – both of which are apps that I was looking for.

    Did anyone wonder if Steve Jobs recent rant against all his competition (including RIM) during a quarterly update is a sign that hubris is now firmly entrenched at Apple? Usually that is the first sign of their denouement.

  9. Compatible Ink Says:

    well, i have troubles installing windows7 on my PC. maybe i need a bios update or something .*-

  10. Eric Heuchon Says:

    Both of the mentioned companies’ success is based on the the direct actions of their respective leaders, Steve Jobs and formerly Bill Gates. We have seen poor performance from both when these 2 are not in the picture because they developed a very authoritative approach to development. The leaders at Google are more about creating an atmosphere to stimulate development. They don’t personally contribute. They encourage. And we can be reasonably assured they will not deviate from this management style as they made a pact to work together for the next 20 years.

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